Duma, Pok step down over allegations

Minister for Defence Fabian Pok and Minister for State Enterprises William Duma have stepped aside from their ministerial responsibilities pending the conclusion and outcomes of a Commission of Inquiry (COI).

This was announced today by Prime Minister Peter O’Neill in a media conference.

The COI will be set up to investigate allegations that have been leveled against some senior Ministers of the Government and senior members of government departments.

This follows a full examination of the breach that was provided to the Prime Minister by government agencies that were involved in the Manumanu land deal in the Central Province.

In the interim, the Ministry for State Enterprises will be taken care of by Minister for National Planning Charles Abel while Fisheries Minister, Mao Zeming, will be the caretaker of the Defence Ministry.

O’Neill has recommended, for NEC consideration tomorrow, the suspension of the Secretary for the Department of Defence and the suspension of the Secretary for the Department of Lands and Physical Planning.

Also, the suspension of the Valuer General, the suspension of the Managing Director of KCH, and the suspension of the Managing Director of MVIL pending the outcome of this investigation.

“It is only proper that these allegations against senior members of the Government and the public service, that they be afforded the principles of natural justice and be given the opportunity to answer these allegations.

“We want to clearly demonstrate to our country and to our people that our Government is committed to the principles and practices of good governance,” O’Neill said.

O’Neill added that today’s decisions are done in the best interests of the people.

He said the people of PNG want to know the outcomes of these investigations, and they will be given the opportunity to provide information to the various investigations.

Quintina Naime